Tuesday, October 01, 2013

indelible moment: Wilder's "The Apartment"

 "I don't want people to think I'm an entertainer..."

From under the desk, C.C.("Bud") Baxter (Jack Lemmon) has produced a hatbox, and out of the hatbox a black bowler, which he now puts on his head.

Bud: It's what they call the junior executive model. What do you think?

Fran (Shirley MacLaine), the elevator operator on whom Bud has a crush, looks at him blankly, absorbed in her own thoughts. 

Bud (continuing): Guess I made a boo-boo, huh?

Fran (paying attention again): No - I like it.

Bud: Really? You mean you wouldn't be ashamed to be seen with somebody in a hat like this?

Fran: Of course not.

Bud: Maybe if I wore it a little more to the side - (adjusting the hat) is that better?

Fran: Much better.

Bud:  You don't think it's tilted a little too much.

Fran takes her compact out of her uniform pocket, opens it, hands it to Bud.

Fran: Here.

Bud (examining himself in the mirror): After all, this is a conservative firm - I don't want people to think I'm an entertainer...

His voice trails off. There is something familiar about the cracked mirror of the compact -- and the fleur-de-lis pattern on the case confirms his suspicion. Fran notices the peculiar expression on his face.

Fran: What is it?

Bud (with difficulty): The mirror - it's ... broken.

Fran: I know. I like it this way - makes me look the way I feel.
"(it) makes me look the way I feel"


Nicolas said...

One of the great all-time movie lines - very simple yet very revealing.

Jeff Kastner said...

That line sums up the entire film. With the exception of the doctor, everyone is broken in it. That's Billy Wilder for you.

Alex said...

Jeff Kastner- Yes, everyone is "broken" in "The Apartment." Most of the characters are broken in all of Wilder's film. His admirers call him cynical. I just think he created characters he simply didn't like and had to punish - which, I guess, is a form of cynicism.